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A variety of screenshots provided by Stryde Hax, allegedly proving gymast He Kexin to be two years underage to participate in the 2008 Olympics.  (Source: Stryde Hax)
Proving once again that search engines can be some of the greatest hacking tools on the internet

A clever search engine hacker says he’s located primary source documents, provided by the Chinese government, that contain proof of an age-related cover-up on behalf of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team.

Working under the pseudonym “Stryde Hax” and posting to his blog, he says he was able to download spreadsheets previously deleted by the Chinese government by pulling up a cached copy stored on Chinese search-engine Baidu.

Stryde’s Blogger profile describes him as a consultant for security firm Intrepidus Group, and says he spends his spare time “[finding] things on web servers that were never meant to be found.”

His efforts focused specifically on gold-medal winning gymnast He Kexin, whose age is widely reported to be 16 years old. He’s passport lists her date of birth to be January 1, 1992 – however reports from a variety of news sources, including Chinese English-language newspaper China Daily, previously showed her birthday to be January 1, 1994, placing her age at a disqualifying 14 years old. (Many of the original reports allegedly disappeared soon after the scandal initially broke out.)

In order to participate, Olympic gymnasts must be at least 16 years old. The sport has a long history of contestants misrepresenting their age in order to participate in senior-level competitions.

Stryde says the documents he located were originally stored on web servers for the General Administration of Sport of China, however they appear to have been removed after a similar – largely unnoticed – story ran last July in the New York Times. Running a specially constructed search query against Google yielded a handful of results that ended up going nowhere, and Google’s cached data revealed what appeared to him as doctored or missing information. Running the same query against Baidu, however, netted another set of results that, like Google, went nowhere – but unlike Google, contained cached information clearly showing He with a birthday of January 1, 1994.

In response to his calls for urgency – not to mention front page exposure on Slashdot and Digg – Stryde says he’s been overwhelmed with support from readers, many who decided to mirror the spreadsheets on their own before they disappeared off of the web completely.

Of particular interest is a machine-translated version of his findings, which clearly state:

799, BB He Kexin CC female AA 1994.1.01 Beijing and
Beijing Beijing Municipal Sports Bureau, First Note

Regardless of the authenticity of Stryde’s findings – a handful of commenters dispute his claims – it’s possible that should his evidence either prove to be conclusive, or lead to the introduction of even more definitive evidence, then the 2008 Chinese gymnastics scandal could be the next in line to be felled by a relatively new phenomenon called “crowdsourcing,” or tapping into the collective knowledge of the internet. A similar phenomenon may have hastened the retirement of CBS news anchor Dan Rather, who once presented evidence of a story on air that the blogosphere later proved to be false.

At the time of this writing, the cached documents still appear to be online at Baidu.

Update 08/21/2008: Stryde's findings appear to have been the catalyst for a newly-opened, official IOC investigation into He Kexin's age.


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RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/23/2008 8:06:02 PM , Rating: -1
Slave labor doesn't exist in the US, eh? Is that what you're trying to imply? Texas, for one, is filled with black slaves who are swinging picks with guns at their backs as they ever were before the civil war. I'm pretty sure they're not the only state that forces their prisoners to work.

It's funny, though. All this talk about how China isn't a real first world nation reminds me of the literature being written in Western Europe about the USA in the centuries when the USA was slowly building its empire.

I'm all for the cessation of slave labor. However, China's Olympic glory should not be spat on by hypocrites. In the end, it's just jealousy, isn't it? China has hosted the world's greatest olympic games, they've got more gold medals than any other country, so some garbage must be made up in order to discredit their efforts.


RE: Waits for it...
By Denithor on 8/25/2008 6:32:53 PM , Rating: 3
And just how many white and red and yellow "slaves" are out there alongside the black ones to whom you refer? I personally think it's good to put convicts to work. They made a conscious decision to break the law, make 'em pay for it (and hard labor is a good way to do it).


RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/25/08, Rating: 0
RE: Waits for it...
By Kenenniah on 8/26/2008 10:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
So what, the other option is to let prisoners just relax and chill all day long while I work and pay taxes to cover their expenses? I have to work for a living, why shouldn't they have to? If not, we become more of their slaves.


RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/27/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waits for it...
By borismkv on 8/27/2008 6:12:07 PM , Rating: 2
Talk about pot calling the kettle black. Have you looked at yourself lately? Maybe you should lay off the peyote.

And I'm sorry, but the pot smoking hippy is not going to be put on labor for getting caught with some dope. They barely spend enough time in prison to miss the next episode of Lost. Drug dealers, the ones who deal in heroin and cocaine (and probably your favorite brand of hashish), are usually also guilty of much much more than just dealing drugs.

Furthermore, if someone is on the road, driving stoned, I have about as much sympathy for them getting busted as a drunk driver. So why don't you take off *your* self-righteous, new-age, happy world of make-believe blinders and get freaking real!


RE: Waits for it...
By wordsworm on 8/27/2008 11:51:08 PM , Rating: 2
I'm calling it like it is: slavery. It's you who is trying to justify it.

It's a cultural genocide that's going on, and plenty of the folks who are rebelling against the Bush/Nixon Reich are getting put into forced labor camps.

Anyways, you're just into mixing your morals. It's ok for the US to put its political prisoners into jail, but not for China. Whatever, I guess that's the norm.


RE: Waits for it...
By borismkv on 8/27/2008 5:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
The constitution draws a very specific line between slave labor and punitive labor. Yes there are black prisoners swinging picks, but they're standing right next to white prisoners who are also swinging picks.


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